Our Amazing COAST Lab!

I have been studying at Plymouth University for more than six years, spanning an undergraduate degree, research master’s degree and now part way through my PhD.

In my first year of study I lived at Discovery Height’s halls of residence, right opposite campus, and I watched the Marine Building being built with excitement! It was a project that took several years to complete and I never thought I would have the chance to use the fantastic facilities here before completing my degree. Luckily I stayed on at university to study my masters and was able to make use of the facilities during this year.

 An example of living barnacles and their 3D printed replica used in my MRes project.

An example of living barnacles and their 3D printed replica used in my MRes project.

COAST Lab

The COAST Lab offers students the chance to use its facilities as part of their coursework projects and/or dissertation project. The facilities include a 35m wave flume, 20m tilting wave flume, the Coastal basin and the Ocean basin. You can read in more detail about the facilities here.

I first used the coast lab during my Master’s Degree in Marine Renewable Energy to fulfil the experimental part of my research project. I used the 20m flume to investigate the effect of barnacle bio fouling on laminar flow in relation to tidal energy devices. I used the flume to run currents of varying intensities and measured the turbulence of the flow in the water column above the sample as well as the drag force on the sample plate.

 An example of the preliminary testing in the Ocean basin checking the stability of the buoy.

An example of the preliminary testing in the Ocean basin checking the stability of the buoy.

I was then lucky enough to continue my research as part of my PhD studies and now get to use the COAST lab on a regular basis. I now use the Ocean Basin facility to investigate biofouling on heaving wave energy devices through forced oscillation and free decay tests.

Here at Plymouth University we are so lucky to have world class experimental facilities at our fingertips and to brush shoulders with the industry giants who regularly use the COAST lab to carry out commercial work.

As a student at Plymouth University the opportunities do not end there!

Field work

We are not by any means restricted to the laboratory and I have also had the chance to take part in field based work throughout my undergraduate, masters and PhD studies. I find this hands on experience has been incredibly important as I have progressed, being able to demonstrate that I can apply the knowledge I have learnt. This is something the marine courses do particularly well at Plymouth University!

Travel to conferences 

Following my research I have been able to attend and present at many international and local level conferences. My highlight so far was my presentation at the International Congress on Marine Corrosion and fouling in Toulon. This was a fantastic opportunity to build on my networking and talk about the research I am so passionate about.

I have had the pleasure of attending many conferences and I hope to look at these fantastic opportunities in more detail in another blog.

 The sights of Toulon taken during 'down time' at a recent conference.

The sights of Toulon taken during 'down time' at a recent conference.